Who Watches the Watchdogs?: CNN's Kurtz's Inadequate Defense of HuffPo's Front Page Breitbart Ban
Howard Kurtz, the longtime WaPo staffer who jumped ship for the Daily Beast (and a cool $600k/year), hosts a show on CNN called Reliable Sources, which airs Sundays. Reliable Sources, according to CNN, "is one of television's only regular programs to examine how journalists do their jobs and how the media affect the stories they cover." This is, without a doubt, a great idea for a show. Only there's one major problem: Kurtz.
You see, there's nothing on CNN's show page for Reliable Sources that explains that Kurtz comes from a left-of-center point of view and is more than willing to suspend basic journalistic principles to win a victory for his side. The question I've posed CNN in the past is, who watches their watchdog? After viewing this must-watch segment, you'll wonder the same thing:
The Reliable Sources host gets his hypocrisy on in this segment, pure and simple. Kurtz, who has previously criticized Breitbart for not providing full context in his multimedia presentation on the NAACP that led to last year's Shirley Sherrod kerfuffle (i.e the redemptive moment, which Breitbart did), left out major details of today's report on the Huffington Post's front page Breitbart ban. The self-appointed constable of context selectively edited the details of this story to do the bidding of far-left Color of Change and Van Jones by omitting the facts that HuffPosters are among the Internet's most predictable flamethrowers and that Breitbart's statement was perfectly defensible.
Kurtz, who is also the Daily Beast Washington bureau chief, laughably mocks Breitbart by saying, "I'm all for people speaking their mind, but if you want to hang out in nicer neighborhoods, you can't shout quite as loud." First off, Breitbart happens to be the city planner for that "nicer" neighborhood, and that neighborhood happens to be frat row. Huffington Post is a unique space online where public figures like Aaron Sorkin can call other public figures like Sarah Palin (and other hunters) "faux-macho shitheads" with impunity, and people like Van Jones, who has called Republicans "assholes," and Bill Maher, who called Sarah Palin a "twat," are front page regulars.
And let's not forget when HuffPoster Sorkin called Sarah Palin an "idiot" on Kurtz's very own CNN.
What's more, Kurtz does little to explain to his audience that most, if not all, of the comments Breitbart makes against Van Jones are justifiable. Please hop over to my piece from last week where I provide example after example to prove that Breitbart's assessment of Jones, however blunt, is actually quite fair. After all, it was Color of Change, the left-wing activist group founded by Jones, who has organized campaigns to silence Breitbart not once, but twice.
And according to Breitbart's twitter feed, Kurtz didn't even bother to reach out and get the Big Journalism publisher's side of the story. That must have been the journalistic diligence Kurtz was taught at Columbia J-School.
So, in summation, it's Kurtz, the media watchdog himself, who misleads his audience by failing to provide full context for this story. Breitbart sums it up quite well:
[Kurtz] is tacitly endorsing an anti-free speech campaign to silence me by selectively editing out why I made my truthful criticism of Van Jones.”
There is no conservative on the show to rebut Kurtz's JournoListing of Breitbart, and CNN makes no effort to emphasize to its audience that Kurtz is a journalist who gives his analysis from a liberal point of view.
Yet, as is usually the case when Team Breitbart takes a hit, the glass is still half full. Though Andrew Breitbart and those who work for him were smeared on Kurtz's show this morning, Kurtz provides an example of liberal media bias we can use to bludgeon flog rebuke him, CNN, and anyone else who denies MSM liberal bias is real and malignant. And we're grateful for that.
But the question remains: why does CNN, a media outlet with, by my count, ZERO conservative hosts, have a liberal as their media watchdog? Of course we know it's because they are much more interested in pushing progressive politics than telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, but tasking Kurtz with this particular job takes a lot of chutzpah on the part of a network that, without the slightest hint of irony, advertises itself as the cable news network that keeps both sides honest and doesn't play favorites. Remember this gem?:
Needless to say, I know no one is watching over this particular watchdog, but will CNN at least be honest about who Howard Kurtz is and what he does? Allowing him to continue to host a show on journalism called Reliable Sources is like giving The Situation a show on abdominal exercises and calling it Masterpiece Theater.
At least The Situation's show might help me shed this damn spare tire.